Barcelona are back. The Blaugrana went on the road and blanked Champions League side Sevilla 3-0 to move to within two points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Playing his fourth career La Liga match, Robert Lewandowski scored his fifth goal of the season and he played a decisive role in another goal as Barcelona put the match away in the first half. A second-half Eric Garcia goal after a short-corner routine allowed the subs to flow during the remainder of the second half.
For Sevilla, it was a crushing loss, their third in four matches. After finishing in fourth place last season, Sevilla is near the bottom of the table and manager Julen Lopetegui is under significant pressure after its worst start since 1981. Fans chanted “Lopetegui dimision” (Lopetegui resignation) at the end of the match.
Backed by loud home support, Sevilla started strong with Isco playing a starring role, and they were only foiled by a spectacular early save from Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, and a handful of offside calls. But Barcelona’s forwards weren’t as forgiving.
Lewandowski was a catalyst on the first Barcelona goal with his chip cleared off the line, where teammate Raphinha was ready to pounce and head home the loose ball. The Polish international then put his world-class talent on display for the second goal, controlling a cross with his chest and drilling the ball past the Sevilla goalkeeper in a spectacularly graceful play.
Xavi Hernandez’s side next prepares for its 2022/23 Champions League debut at home against Czech side Viktoria Plzen, while Sevilla will have their work cut out in the same competition against English champions Manchester City.
It wasn’t just the Lewandowski show. Gavi dominated in midfield. Jules Kounde was exceptional at right-back — he assisted on two goals — and Eric Garcia made a handful of key defensive plays in addition to scoring a goal. Winger Ousmane Dembele had a couple of questionable decisions in attack, but he was also influential.
Then there was goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who came through with a save at a critical juncture early in the match. And he was also ready to react to a Papu Gomez blast out of the blue.
Of course, a handful of these same players were part of the team during the rougher stretches of the last campaign. What’s so different? Make no doubt about it: Robert Lewandowski’s presence this time around has provided an air of confidence to the squad and elevated the group’s overall play.
📊| Gavi vs Sevilla
• More distance covered (11.3 kms)
• Most duels contested (16) – won 8.
• Most passes in final 3rd (19)
• Most ball recoveries in opposition half (2)
• Most fouls won (5)
• Most fouls committed (5)
• 2nd most ball recoveries (7)
• 2nd most passes (40) pic.twitter.com/bz6wtgjtMO
Julen Lopetegui is in trouble. The crowd calling for the manager’s head after a match never bodes well. But it’s still early in the season, and he’s still working on integrating the new players Sevilla acquired. Centre-back Marcao hasn’t played (injury), another centre-back Tanguy Nianzou has just three games under his belt, forward Kasper Dolberg made his debut off the bench, and playmaker Isco was only making his first start.
After losing his best two defenders to the summer transfer market — Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos — Lopetegui has work to do to find the right lineup. The start of the match against Barcelona was promising, and if only a few breaks had gone Sevilla’s way, the story of the game could have been very different. But the what-if’s won’t save Lopetegui. A result in the UEFA Champions League against Man City might buy him the time he needs.
BAR — Raphinha — 21st min.
BAR — Robert Lewandowski (Jules Kounde) — 35th min.
BAR — Eric Garcia (Jules Kounde) — 50th min.
Final: This game was over after the first 45 minutes. Sevilla delivered its best punch in the opening stages, but Barcelona were more effective in transition than Sevilla. When the home team failed to convert, and Barcelona did, Sevilla’s spirit was broken.
Robert Lewandowski is a difference-maker and plays that only he can make will continue to decide matches. Together with Ousmane Dembele and Raphinha, they are forming a formidable trio. They only need the rest of the team to hold it together until they can manufacture the breakthrough. That’ll be the formula for success in the near-term for this Barcelona team.
81st min.: Moments after an attempt by Frenkie de Jong, Gavi collapses to the ground with cramps. That’s the kind of shift he’s put in today.
70th min.: SUB Sevilla. It’s Papu Gomez on for Isco. Playmaker for playmaker. And just seconds after coming on, Papu unleashes a shot which Ter Stegen has to punch away.
66th min.: Yellow card to Sevilla. It’s Jose Angel with the hard foul on Barcelona’s Ferran Torres and the referee doesn’t hesitate to caution him.
65th min.: SUBS Barcelona. Triple change. Frenkie de Jong (for Pedri), Ferran Torres (for Ousmane Dembele), and Jordi Alba (for Alejandro Balde).
62nd min.: Barcelona chance! Lewandowski denied. Bono comes up with a huge save after Lewandowski applies a lunging touch on a beautiful cross from Sergi Roberto. It would’ve been a spectacular goal.
56th min.: SUB Sevilla. Kasper Dolberg makes his Sevilla debut in place of En-Nesyri, who’s jeered by the home crowd. And he reacts to it. Frustrations must be boiling over for Sevilla.
55th min.: SUB Barcelona. Sergi Roberto is on for Eric Garcia who has picked up a knock. Right-back Jules Kounde moves to centre-back. Sergi Roberto is the new right-back.
50th min.: Goal Barcelona! It’s a short corner and Kounde heads down for Eric Garcia who scores his first professional goal. He’s only 21 by the way.
Watch in USA:
¡El Barça ya golea! 3-0 lo gana ante el Sevilla y como dice @fernandopalomo, el silencio en el Sánchez-Pizjuán lo dice TODO 🤫. pic.twitter.com/xSJSxpgB81
47th min.: Chance for Sevilla! Erik Lamela has two bites at a ball in the box but Eric Garcia gets in his way on both occasions. Good defending by the ex-Manchester City man.
46th min.: Second half underway. Two changes for Sevilla. Jose Angel and Delaney are in for Gudelj and Jordan.
Barcelona were all over the place in the first 15-20 minutes as Sevilla pressured effectively and then broke in transition with runs in behind. Isco looked like he was taking over the game early on. Then Barcelona’s world-class forwards went to work.
Where Sevilla’s transitions were either foiled by Marc-Andre ter Stegen or the offside flag, Barcelona’s forwards were clinical. Dembele-Lewandowski-Raphinha all combined on the first, and then Lewandowski showed his class on the second goal with a clinical control and finish. He’s a difference maker and the numbers speak for themselves.
5 – Robert Lewandowski 🇵🇱 has scored 5 goals in 4 games in LaLiga, becoming only the third player to score 5 or more goals in his first 4 games in the competition in the 21st century after Cristiano Ronaldo 🇵🇹 in 2009 (5) and Radamel Falcao 🇨🇴 in 2011 (5). Amazing. pic.twitter.com/zVx8TpyJ70
47th min.: Chance for Barcelona! Breakaway led by Ousmane Dembele and even though he had Robert Lewandowski sprinting to his right, Dembele takes it himself, but his shot goes wide of the far post.
37th min.: Goal Barcelona! Another well-executed play by Barcelona’s stars. Beautiful driven ball by Jules Kounde from the right side, and Lewandowski is clinical. He controls it with his chest and then drives it past the ‘keeper. Sevilla’s positive start is wasted. Barcelona are cruising.
Watch in USA:
¡TITO! El primero no cayó, pero el segundo fue aún mejor, GO LA ZO de Lewandowski para que el Barça lo gane 2-0 🤯. pic.twitter.com/LgyFn4jP39
Watch in UK:
That is a beautiful goal from Robert Lewandowski! 😍
The Polish striker controlled the diagonal pass from Kounde on his chest and volleys home to double the Barcelona lead 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/zZPW5EgSmG
Watch in Australia:
Robert Lewandowski with a 𝒔𝒖𝒃𝒍𝒊𝒎𝒆 finish and that’s his FIFTH of the season! 🔥
A chest and volley from out of this world from one of the best in the game!
Stream LIVE, or on demand after, here 📺 https://t.co/e9qYKF1GKg#OptusSport #LaLiga pic.twitter.com/UfsuSXnIER
29th min.: Yellow card. Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde gets it after he kicks a second ball into the field on a Sevilla transition.
20th min.: Goal Barcelona! Raphinha nets his first La Liga goal. Barcelona show Sevilla how a transition is done. Dembele fed Robert Lewandowski who chipped the ‘keeper. And although the Sevilla defenders cleared off the line, it went right to Raphinha, who headed home at the goal line.
Watch in USA:
Raphinha define la GRAN JUGADA de Lewandowski y el Barcelona lo gana 1-0 en el Sánchez-Pizjuán 🤩.
A deadly counter attack from Xavi’s side, Lewandowski’s dink was cleared off the line, but Raphinha was on the spot to nod in 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/CB5bnfsCBx
Watch in Canada:
Raphinha opens the scoring for Barcelona against Seville! #LaLiga pic.twitter.com/nI9ispleDs
Watch in Australia:
Raphinha scores his first LaLiga goal for Barcelona 💙❤️
But how about that filthy Robert Lewandowski chip in the build up 🔥
Stream LIVE, or on demand after, here 📺 https://t.co/e9qYKF1GKg#OptusSport #LaLiga pic.twitter.com/AmjarUDFMa
18th min.: Sevilla chance! Another save by Ter Stegen, but En-Nesyri is judged to be offside. The replays show that the offside — Sevilla’s fourth — may not have existed.
15th min.: What a start by Sevilla! A counterattack finished with a wayward shot from Marcos Acuna, then a shots by En-Nesyri and Isco are scratched for offside. The home side is dangerous every time they transition. Barcelona are on their heels in those moments.
12th min.: Erik Lamela scores, but the Sevilla player is offside and it’s clear-cut.
9th min.: Yellow card. It’s shown to Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele who fouled Isco after the latter ‘megged him.
4th min.: Sevilla chance! Big save by Barcelona ‘keeper Ter Stegen against Ivan Rakitic in a one-on-one. Rakitic was put through by a delightful ball from Isco.
TER STEGEN PRIME ESTÁ AQUÍ pic.twitter.com/k8PS3SJTF4
1st min.: We’re off from the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan. Barcelona wearing gold, Sevilla in white.
45 mins from kickoff: Sevilla vs. Barcelona is an excuse to watch Ronaldinho’s first goal in a Barcelona shirt. It was some first goal:
🔙 #NesteDia, há 19 anos…
🧙♂️ O bruxo @10Ronaldinho marcou esse golaço contra o Sevilla, o primeiro dele com a camisa do Barça. Relembre! 🤙🏾
🇧🇷 #BrasilFCB 💙❤️ pic.twitter.com/Q1uKmSW8PX
Centre-back Karim Rekik and Jesus ‘Tecatito’ Corona are out, with new forward Kasper Dolberg available off the bench for a potential debut after his Transfer Deadline Day move. Rafa Mir, Papu Gomez, and Oliver Torres lose their place in the starting lineup after the 2-1 loss to promoted side Almeria.
Sevilla starting lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 13-Yassine Bounou ‘Bono’ (GK) — 2-Gonzalo Montiel, 6-Nemanja Gudelj, 14-Tanguy Nianzou, 19-Marcos Acuna — 8-Joan Jordan, 20-Fernando, 10-Ivan Rakitic — 17-Erik Lamela, 15-Youssef En-Nesyri, 22-Isco
Sevilla subs (12): 31-Albert Flores (GK), 1-Marko Dmitrovic (GK), 16-Jesus Navas, 30-Jose Angel Carmona, 29-Kike Salas, 3-Alex Telles, 18-Thomas Delaney, 7-Suso, 24-Papu Gomez, 21-Oliver Torres, 5-Kasper Dolberg, 12-Rafa Mir
Xavi Hernandez repeats the same lineup that beat Real Valladolid 4-0 last week. Jordi Alba, Memphis Depay, and Frenkie de Jong — all players who were reportedly potential transfers ahead of Deadline Day — find themselves on the bench.
Barcelona starting lineup (4-3-3, right to left): 1-Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GK) — 23-Jules Kounde, 4-Ronald Araujo, 24-Eric Garcia, 28-Alejandro Balde — 30-Gavi, 5-Sergio Busquets, 8-Pedri — 7-Ousmane Dembele, 9-Robert Lewandowski, 22-Raphinha
Barcelona subs (12): 36-Arnau Tenas (GK), 26-Inaki Pena (GK), 18-Jordi Alba, 20-Sergi Roberto, 15-Andreas Christensen, 3-Gerard Pique, 16-Miralem Pjanic, 19-Franck Kessie, 21-Frenkie de Jong, 10-Ansu Fati, 14-Memphis Depay, 11-Ferran Torres
The match from the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan will kick off at 21:00 local time on Saturday night. Here’s how to watch the Matchweek 4 contest around the world:
UK: The match will be available on LaLigaTV, which streams on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
USA: All La Liga matches are available to stream in English and Spanish on ESPN+.
Canada: TSN holds TV and streaming rights for La Liga in Canada. The Real Madrid-Real Betis match will only be available via stream.
Australia: Fans in Australia can stream all La Liga matches live and on demand on Optus Sport.